Belgium Prevails in Landmark ICSID Arbitration

May 05, 2015

The international arbitral tribunal constituted in the case Ping An vs Belgium has, by award of 30 April 2015, dismissed Ping An’s claim for lack of jurisdiction. Ping An was the largest shareholder of Fortis when the financial crisis of 2008 erupted. The Chinese insurer challenged the rescue measures taken by the Belgian State under the Belgian-Chinese Treaty of 1986 on the protection of investments, and sought compensation amounting to EUR 700 million – EUR 1 billion.

Ping An, however, had submitted the claim on the basis of the new investment protection treaty between Belgium and China, which entered into force in 2009. This Treaty replaced the old one of 1986.

The tribunal (Lord Collins of Mapesbury, President, Professor Philippe Sands QC, Mr David A.R. Williams QC) held that it lacked jurisdiction to rule on a dispute that arose before the entry into force of the new Treaty, that was based on an alleged breach of the old 1986 Treaty, about which Ping An had notified Belgium before the entry into force of the new Treaty

The Belgian State was defended in this high-profile arbitration case by Foley Hoag LLP and Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick. Foley Hoag’s International Litigation and Arbitration team was headed by partner Ronald Goodman and special counsel Pierre d’Argent. Liedekerke’s team was headed by International Litigation and Arbitration partners Nicolas Angelet and Arnaud Nuyts, and Corporate and Finance partner Thierry Tilquin.

Foley Hoag is globally recognized for handling high profile international sovereign and commercial disputes. According to Chambers and Partners, “Foley Hoag has one of the world’s most respected and experienced groups of lawyers practicing international law. The firm’s lawyers have unique experience in handling complex state-to-state disputes [and] investor-state arbitration.”

Foley Hoag and Liedekerke are member firms of Lex Mundi, which is globally regarded as the world’s leading association of independent law firms.